Joseph-André Motte (1925 – 2013) French Furniture & Interior Designer

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Joseph-André Motte featured image

Influential Post-War French Designer

Joseph-André Motte (1925 – 2013) was a French furniture and interior designer who influenced post-war French design.

Early Life of Joseph-André Motte

Joseph-André Motte grew up in Champsaur (southeastern France in the Hautes-Alpes). Following his ‘baccalauréat’, he attended the École nationale supérieure des arts appliqués et métiers d’art in Paris, where he graduated first in his class in 1948.

His career has two distinct stages. Until the late 1960s, he specialised in furniture design. He later became an interior designer.

Joseph-André Motte, the FURNITURE DESIGNER

Following WWII (1939–45), new methods and materials for the mass production of furniture were increasingly sought. Metal, aluminium, and Formica manufacturers sponsored the Société des artistes décorateurs’ salons. This period’s experimental designers included Motte, Pierre Guariche, René-Jean Caillette, Jean Prouvé, Charlotte Perriand, Antoine Philippon, and Jacqueline Lecoq, among others.

Tripod Chair by Joseph-André Motte

Motte began his career as a furniture designer at the venerable Bon Marché, working with Marcel Gascoin’s workshop. In 1954, he co-founded the Atelier de Recherche Plastique with Michel Mortier and Pierre Guariche. With rattan, foam, plastic, Formica, plywood, stainless steel, and glass, he became one of the most prolific postwar designers.

Joseph-André Motte Sabre Chair

Motte’s projects included global furniture and accessories:

Office furniture, chairs, tables, lights, restrooms, and heating.

Some of his most famed chairs are the

  • Tripod Chair (1949),
  • Catherine Chair, (1952),
  • Sabre Chair (1954),
  • 740 Chair (1957),
  • 770 (1958).

Joseph-André Motte the INTERIOR DESIGNER

Joseph-André Motte (French, 1925-2013)_ _Motte_ seat, RATP 1973, stamped and enamelled 10_20 sheet metal hull, platforms at Nation station on line 6 of the Paris metro.
Joseph-André Motte (French, 1925-2013)_ Motte seat, RATP 1973, stamped and enamelled 10_20 sheet metal hull, platforms at Nation station on line 6 of the Paris metro.

From the 1960s to the early 1990s (until his retirement), Motte was in charge of prolific and prestigious interior design commissions like public interiors for the French government, including:

  • Paris Métro stations (more than 100 stations),
  • the interiors and furnishings for the Orly Airport,
  • the interiors and furnishings for the Charles de Gaulle Airport,
  • the interiors and furnishings for the Lyon Airport
  • parts of the Louvre Museum
  • details of the state radio’s Broadcasting House, Paris
  • French prefectures and town halls
  • The Council of Europe in Strasbourg

He also got many contracts abroad in Sub-Saharan Africa and North Africa, including the presidential palace in Bamako and many hotels in Algeria, Tunisia, Congo and Mali.

He was honored with many awards such as the Golden Compass (Compasso d’Oro), La Triennale di Milano, Prix René Gabriel. In 1990, he was awarded the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Grade of Commander).


Byars, M., & Riley, T. (2004). The design encyclopedia. Laurence King Publishing.

Wikipedia contributors. (2021, March 4). Joseph-André Motte. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 02:19, July 24, 2021, from

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